Two province-wide, government publications aimed at helping families raise healthy, happy children received their first viewings at a child care conference held in Prince George this week.
Toddler’s First Steps: A Best Chance Guide to Parenting Your Six-Month to Three-Year-Old and the B.C. Early Childhood Development Action Plan: A Work in Progress were unveiled by Linda Reid, Minister of State for Early Childhood Development, at the Children, Families and Communities conference in PG Tuesday.
“Children’s early environment shapes their entire lives, and investing in their development is one of the best things we can do to build a stronger society,” said Reid.
Toddler’s First Steps is a how-to guide for raising young children, covering everything from behaviour to learning to nutrition. It’s the follow-up to A Baby’s Best Chance, a handbook for pregnancy and baby care produced in 1987 and now in its fifth printing. A third book Preschoolers Ready to Learn will be available in 2003.
The Early Childhood Development Action Plan is a listing of health, education and financial programs and services for parents of toddlers available throughout B.C.
Both of the books are available free of charge from public health clinics for parents of new children anywhere in the province or for $8.99 through MacMillan Canada for parents of children born before June, 2002.
Reid also unveiled the Child Health Passport, a booklet for parents to track their child’s health information up to 11 years old.
Reid said that there are 271,000 children under six years of age in B.C. that require ongoing support.
The ministry’s plan of action will focus on aboriginal communities, increasing community capacity to help youth, creation of quality childcare programs, parent education and partnerships with the private sector.
The Children, Families, Communities 2002 conference went from June 2 to 5 at the Civic Centre, featuring almost 30 educational seminars focused on pregnancy and child care.